Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Some people think of Wednesday as hump day. For the next month Wednesday is also Market Day - the day I arrive at the farm early to harvest greens, pack tomatoes into pints, arrange the beets and carrots and peppers in an old fashioned wooden wagon in the main hall of the hospital where I am working on the next rotation of my internship. The hospital is one of the first in the country to start its own farm that now boasts two hoophouses for year-round growing. Just last week the ADA posted a link to a Food Sleuth podcast interviewing the RD who developed the project that turned 15 acres of hospital property back into farmland last April (a great podcast!). Then in July the farm began to sell its produce at a farmer's market in the hospital. The hours correspond with the hours during which most patients are discharged (11am) and also during staff lunch breaks. The idea is not only to sell fresh, local (!) produce, but send a message, linking farm and hospital, food and health.
Tomatoberry variety of cherry tomatoes
Working at the farmer's market earlier today made me feel like a local celebrity. People's faces lit up when they saw the cart. Shoppers commented on the fragrance of the basil, the colors of the chard stems, the perfection of the tomatoes, and they began to swap ideas on how to use the produce, recommending recipes, sharing what they grow in their own yards and asking me for suggestions as well. Some customers were bold enough to try something new, some were returning to buy the Sungold tomatoes after trying them last week (my favorites!).
A bunch of Bright Lights rainbow chard
I'll be spending the next month on the farm and I'm sure I'll have plenty to share. It's the most exhausting work I've ever done but it's exciting to be onboard with a hospital that is committed to investing in preventative care through food and nutrition.